Virtual Production

Real-time computer graphic technologies are now a viable option on live film sets, and Virtual Production is becoming an increasingly important part of the VFX pipeline.

Artificial backdrops have been used in movie-making since its very beginnings to create the illusion of large sets or locations. In recent years, DNEG has used digital front projection and large LED video walls displaying pre-rendered content to take this technique into the 21st Century, in its Oscar-winning work on films such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ and Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’.

LED screen on-set VFX First Man
First Man: axis gimbal and LED screen

 

Today’s Virtual Production processes leverage advances in computing power, VFX expertise and game-engine technology to:

  • create environments that now interact with the live-action, allowing filmmakers to make real-time decisions and changes

  • create backgrounds which move in full perspective with respect to the camera’s position, updating in real-time as the camera moves

  • allow the production to move from one convincingly detailed and photo-real environment to another without leaving the stage

  • allow final shots to be captured in camera, without the need to replace the backgrounds in post-production

In effect, locations from all over the world can be brought to the stage with compelling photo-realism.

Our approach is to utilise cutting-edge technology in pursuit of our clients’ storytelling goals, and our tools are designed to feel familiar to the directors and DOPs that we collaborate with.

 

Our Virtual Production offer covers the full range of services, including:

Virtual location scouting – capture, create and explore virtual locations for use in the Virtual Production process

Virtual camera – blocking and framing decisions can be explored in virtual locations using VR headsets and virtual cameras

Real-time mixed reality VFX – allowing in-camera set extensions and live compositing of animated and motion capture controlled characters into virtual locations

LED volumetric stages – fully immerse actors in virtual sets with real-time in-camera VFX and environments created with state-of-the-art LED volumetric stages

Fireworks © Wilder Films, photographer Tom Oxley

 

We have been working at the cutting-edge of technology and artistry for over 20 years, with six Academy Awards for ‘Best VFX’ in the last 8 years (seven in total). Our work providing Virtual Production services for projects such as Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Death on the Nile’ and Andy Serkis’ ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ has positioned us at the forefront of this new technology.

All of DNEG’s Virtual Production services complement and integrate with our other services, and are designed to fit within our clients’ workflows and processes.

DNEG has partnered with multi-award-winning XR entertainment studio Dimension to form a virtual production partnership that aligns Dimension’s revolutionary volumetric and real-time development capabilities with DNEG’s bespoke in-house Virtual Production technologies, real-time workflows and global strengths in creative direction, supervision and visual effects.

Find out more about some of DNEG’s latest Virtual Production projects

The Virtual Production Innovation Project is an industry-leading initiative demonstrating the advantages and versatility of virtual production. Directed by DNEG’s very own two-time Oscar winner Paul Franklin, and created in collaboration with Sky Studios, Dimension Studio, Creative Technology and ARRI, this pioneering project consists of a series of short films, to be released in 2022. With the limitless potential of virtual production at its centre, the series will champion the latest skills, workflows and creative concepts made possible by this latest technological horizon. Watch the trailer below!

The Virtual Production Innovation Project: trailer

‘Fireworks: The Making of a Virtual Production’ goes behind-the-scenes of Fireworks, an innovative short film directed by DNEG two-time Oscar winner Paul Franklin (‘Inception‘, ‘Interstellar‘) and produced by BAFTA-winner Annalise Davis for Wilder Films. Supported by Epic Games, Lipsync Post Production and StoryFutures Academy, ‘Fireworks: The Making of a Virtual Production’ illustrates the unique creative process afforded by virtual production. Breaking down the production process step by step, each episode in the series demystifies another layer of the virtual production pipeline. Watch the trailer below and the full series here.

Fireworks: trailer

DNEG teamed up with Dimension, and with Unreal Engine, ARRI, Mo-Sys, 80six, ROE, Brompton Technologies and Malcolm Ryan, to shoot a proof-of-concept Virtual Production test: ‘Gunslinger‘.

Directed once again by DNEG Creative Director Paul Franklin, the test demonstrates how our clients can take advantage of our Virtual Production services to enjoy the best of both worlds – the flexibility of a visual effects process and the immediate realism of actual photography.

Find out more about the test here, and watch a behind the scenes video from the test shoot, as well as some of the final test footage below.

Go behind the scenes of the LED volume Virtual Production Test

Gunslinger: LED volume Virtual Production Test

For more information on DNEG Creative services, please contact:

Lee Berger (Los Angeles): lee@dneg.com

Alex LoCasale (Los Angeles): aloc@dneg.com

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